An emission reduction target can only be met with a credible plan. This has to involve rapidly reducing fossil fuel emissions, particularly from domestic coal use. However, wealthy countries sometimes pay for reduction in carbon emissions in other countries if it’s cheaper than achieving the same level of emission reductions in their own country. This “buys time” and while technically it helps reduce global emissions, ultimately it’s not a substitute for domestic emission reductions, which will eventually be required everywhere if we’re going to stabilise the climate system.
Australia can cut greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, but delaying action will become increasingly costly. Besides, with just 0.9°C of warming, Australia has already experienced some of the devastating consequences of climate change. It’s in Australia’s national interest to set strong and fair emissions reduction targets, with a strong focus on reducing domestic coal use, as part of a concerted global effort.